Thu | Sep 19, 2019

Stewart urges tourism sector to purchase locally made goods

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2019 | 12:10 AM

WESTERN BUREAU:

Chairman of the Tourism Linkages Council, Adam Stewart, has urged persons in charge of procurement within the tourism sector and other industries to make it an imperative to purchase goods that are manufactured in Jamaica.

According to Stewart, the tourism stakeholders should work with local manufacturers and provide them the opportunity to learn more about the demands of the tourism sector and how they can capitalise on mutually beneficial trade arrangements.

“As chairman of the Tourism Linkages Council, I urge us not to lose sight of this objective, but to redouble our efforts in this regard,” Stewart noted in a release that was issued last week.

“We must think it, believe it, and act on it, even when it is not the easiest option available – buying Jamaican, supporting our local suppliers, must become second nature. I make this appeal to all our purchasers, specifically – but not limited to those in the tourism industry – to recommit to engaging our farmers, manufacturers, artisans and service providers,” Stewart said.

TIME TO RISE AS ECONOMIC LEADERS

He argued that while advances have been made through initiatives such as the Speed Networking project; Christmas in July initiative, the Blue Mountain Coffee Festival; the Agri-Linkages Exchange platform, which allows tourism purchasers to connect digitally with local farmers; and the Taste Jamaica mobile application, the relevant authorities in tourism ought not to become complacent, as there is still much more to be done.

“Jamaica is only just turning the corner on a multitude of levels, where we genuinely feel and see this as Jamaica’s time to rise as economic leaders in the region. This is not the time to be side-tracked, but to dig deeper and cement this commitment, these initiatives and these advances as our way of life,” he said.

Stewart said local purveyors also have a responsibility to rise to the occasion by operating at a standard that will not only meet, but also surpass expectations, as well as by monitoring trends on the global market in order to be able to successfully compete

He suggested that local entities seize the financing opportunities available to constantly retool, evolve and remain competitive. Among these, he said, are the low interest rates, spanning three to 4.5 per cent, available through institutions such as the Export-Import Bank, as well as via low rates across the wider banking sector and the current availability of liquidity in the local market.

Stewart said the Jamaica Tourism Linkages Council remains committed to ensuring that there is a “reduction in the purchasing gap between Jamaica’s tourism industry and local purveyors, in order in effect a greater retention of foreign exchange to the island to guarantee sustainable development through its impact on poverty reduction, community growth and development.